Learning good art through bad art
If a painting hangs in a museum or is reprinted in a textbook, it must be classic, wonderful, a true work of art. But some of those that we consider masterpieces today were scoffed at during their time; they were considered “bad art.”
Last week, sixth to 12 graders gathered in the Aiken County Public Library meeting room to create works of art all their own, but, that night, no one was aspring to be the next Picasso or Michelangelo.
On Thursday, library staff member Kimberly McSpadden encouraged the students to break-out and thoroughly take part in “Teen Bad Art Night.”
“So many (teens) are self-conscious of what they are making that they don’t want to make anything because they don’t want anyone to make fun of them,” McSpadden said.
“So if you tell them they can make the worse art they want to, you know, it kind of releases that pressure they put on themselves.”
And that’s exactly what it did.
The teenagers painted, used feathers and cotton balls and cut shapes out to whatever they felt like.
One 8th grader, Jeremiah Boyd, used his fascination with numbers as a basis one of his creations.
“I’m trying to create numbers,” he said. “I like math. It’s my hardest subject, but I like it.”
He tried to create a four on a sheet of computer paper to accompany his paper plate, where he swirled teal lines in between the red-lined design.
Before the fun began, McSpadden thought a lesson was in order.
She showed the teenagers some famous works to get their reactions but did not reveal that the pictures were considered masterpieces.
A Jackson Pollock – the artist known for his “action painting” – painting garnered a mix of negative responses; it was weird, bad, just not good.
When McSpadden revealed that the picture is worth millions, the students were taken back and looked at the picture differently.
“People interpret art differently,” McSpadden said.
She said one student said, “No art is bad. It just depends on who’s looking at it.”
McSpadden got the idea for the program from an adult group at a California library. That library ran the event as a contest – what could make the worst art? McSpadden adopted the whole concept into a teen program and did it at a library in Barnwell.
“They had a good time with it there, so I thought we try it,” she said. “It’s just a way to get teens interested in the library.”
What work that was left will be displayed in the library.
For more information about this and upcoming programs, call 642-7575 or visit www.abbe-lib.org/.